Mentee Name: Bianca Nogrady
Genre: Science fiction
Word Count: 81,000
In a resource-starved world riven by biological warfare, biohunter Niobe Grace patrols the frontline: part paramedic, part microbiologist, part CSI. But when framed for a heinous crime, she faces the fight of her life to save herself, her friends, and the closest thing to a home and family she has ever known.
The swollen lump on the child’s thigh was a red bulls-eye, the telltale flea bite at its centre. Niobe reached out a gloved finger and prodded the lump as gently as she could. The little girl jerked her leg back under the covers, eyes filling with tears.
“Sorry, kid.” Niobe patted the shivering form. “It hurts?”
The flushed face twitched in a frightened nod.
“Show me your fingers?”
A hand crept out from under the layers of blankets. Niobe inspected it, then smiled at the child. “You keep that paw warm, little mouse.” The hand retreated, the mound of blankets shifted as the child curled into herself.
Niobe stood, her biosuit crinkling noisily in the enclosed wagon. She turned to the mother hovering behind her. “It’s bubonic, but she’s lucky. Doesn’t look like the necrosis has kicked in, so she’s going to keep her extremities. In a few hours those fingers and toes will start going black, then it’s all downhill.”
The mother gave a quick, tight nod. “Those damn turf bandits were lobbing rats into the streets. We left as quickly as we could.” She reached out a hand to the young girl shivering under blankets, despite the eighty-degree heat. “I just wish that Gaia-damned fool of a mayor had warned traders the settlement was in the middle of a scrap.” She glanced over at her shaven-headed husband, who stood hunched at the end of the bed.